CSSCR 2(JUD): Urging the United States Congress to act on the request of the governor to acquire for the state additional land in the Tongass National Forest from the United States government by purchase or negotiation or by seeking amendment to the Alaska Statehood Act.
00 CS FOR SENATE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION NO. 2(JUD) 01 Urging the United States Congress to act on the request of the governor to acquire for 02 the state additional land in the Tongass National Forest from the United States 03 government by purchase or negotiation or by seeking amendment to the Alaska 04 Statehood Act. 05 BE IT RESOLVED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF ALASKA: 06 WHEREAS the Tongass National Forest was created in 1907 by a proclamation of 07 President Theodore Roosevelt; and 08 WHEREAS, under the Alaska Statehood Act (P.L. 85-508, 72 Stat. 339), the federal 09 government provided Alaska with a 103,350,000-acre land entitlement, which was considered 10 to be sufficient for the newly formed state to become economically self-supporting; and 11 WHEREAS the Alaska Statehood Act (P.L. 85-508, 72 Stat. 339) gave the state 25 12 years to select land for entitlement; and 13 WHEREAS the 25-year period established in the Alaska Statehood Act (P.L. 85-508, 14 72 Stat. 339) as the period in which the state may select land for entitlement was later 15 extended, in effect, by various legislation, with the result that approximately 5,500,000 acres
01 of the land entitlement granted to the state by the Act have not yet been conveyed; and 02 WHEREAS, from the 1950s through the early 1990s, the commercial harvest of 03 timber formed a major part of the economy of Southeast Alaska; and 04 WHEREAS the commercial harvest of timber no longer forms a major part of the 05 economy of Southeast Alaska because the timber industry does not have access to an adequate 06 amount of timber that can be economically harvested from the Tongass National Forest; and 07 WHEREAS, in the past four years, several efforts to revitalize the timber industry in 08 Southeast Alaska have failed because a timber industry cannot exist without an adequate 09 timber supply; and 10 WHEREAS the United States Congress has placed 40 percent of the Tongass 11 National Forest off limits for commercial use, and the United States Forest Service has 12 administratively set aside an additional 58 percent of the Tongass National Forest; and 13 WHEREAS, at the present time, only two percent of the Tongass National Forest is 14 managed for the purpose of providing local communities with the opportunity to harvest 15 timber; and 16 WHEREAS 91 percent of the old growth timber standing in the Tongass National 17 Forest in 1954 remains standing, and the remaining nine percent that has been harvested has 18 now been replaced with young growth timber that will begin maturing in about 30 years; and 19 WHEREAS findings prepared by the Alaska Timber Jobs Task Force in June 2012 20 reveal that the timber industry is vitally important to statewide and regional economies in the 21 state; and 22 WHEREAS the principal barrier to job creation in the Southeast Alaska timber 23 industry is the lack of a sufficient amount of timber that can be economically harvested from 24 the Tongass National Forest; and 25 WHEREAS an unrealistic Tongass Land Management Plan dictated by Washington, 26 D.C., endless environmental legal appeals, and a lack of political will by public officials who 27 are in a position to support meeting timber harvest targets have prevented the United States 28 Forest Service from providing the timber industry access to enough economically harvestable 29 timber in the Tongass National Forest to make the timber industry commercially viable in 30 Southeast Alaska; and 31 WHEREAS, because the United States Forest Service has not been able to provide
01 the timber industry with access to enough economically harvestable timber in the Tongass 02 National Forest to sustain the timber industry in Southeast Alaska, it is time for the United 03 States Congress to act on the governor's request to acquire additional land in the Tongass 04 National Forest that will provide enough economically harvestable timber to create a 05 sustainable economic base for the communities of Southeast Alaska; and 06 WHEREAS sec. 6 of the Alaska Statehood Act (P.L. 85-508, 72 Stat. 339) limited the 07 state's selection of land from the Tongass National Forest and the Chugach National Forest to 08 400,000 acres with the intention of preserving timber for federal long-term sales; and 09 WHEREAS sec. 6 of the Alaska Statehood Act (P.L. 85-508, 72 Stat. 339) allowed 10 the state to select land in other regions of the state without restricting the use of the land to 11 recreation and community expansion, and, because the timber industry in Southeast Alaska 12 has become unsustainable, the state should be entitled to acquire some of its remaining land 13 entitlement under the Alaska Statehood Act from the Tongass National Forest; 14 BE IT RESOLVED that the Alaska State Legislature respectfully urges the United 15 States Congress to Act on the governor's request to negotiate state land entitlements under 16 sec. 6 of the Alaska Statehood Act (P.L. 85-508, 72 Stat. 339) or work to amend the Alaska 17 Statehood Act for the purpose of acquiring forested land in the Tongass National Forest; and 18 be it 19 FURTHER RESOLVED that, if the United States Congress fails to convey forested 20 land in the Tongass National Forest either by negotiating state land entitlements under the 21 Alaska Statehood Act (P.L. 85-508, 72 Stat. 339) or by amending the Alaska Statehood Act, 22 the Alaska State Legislature urges the governor to negotiate the purchase of forested land in 23 the Tongass National Forest from the federal government. 24 COPIES of this resolution shall be sent to the Honorable Barack Obama, President of 25 the United States; the Honorable Joseph R. Biden, Jr., Vice-President of the United States and 26 President of the U.S. Senate; the Honorable Sally Jewell, United States Secretary of the 27 Interior; the Honorable Tom Vilsack, United States Secretary of Agriculture; and the 28 Honorable Lisa Murkowski and the Honorable Mark Begich, U.S. Senators, and the 29 Honorable Don Young, U.S. Representative, members of the Alaska delegation in Congress; 30 and the Honorable Sean Parnell, Governor of Alaska.